La Ferme: New Chef and Ownership

Since it opened La Ferme (originally Bistro Gastronomie) has been one of our favorite restaurants in West Boca. From a business perspective it has been a bumpy ride. The original owners under Bistro Gastronomie sold to the Shapiros who renamed it La Ferme. They originally stuck with Chef Walden but later switched to one new chef and maybe another. It’s our understanding the Shapiros did a good job of building up the business and this made it an attractive purchase for the new owner, Alan Luckner.
farid-oualidiFarid Oualidi is the new chef. He has been working there for about a year under the previous chef. Here’s an interview with him from back in 2009.
With the latest changes in mind they invited us to visit. Disclosure: Our meal was free.
La Ferme is on the north side of Yamato between 441 and Lyons Road, in the same plaza as Doris Market.

There is a regular menu which is expensive – but worth it, and there is also a “Dining to Dusk” menu. That’s available to 7 pm on most days but only until 6 pm on Friday and Saturday. On that deal you get three courses for $32, though some items may increase that price.
The interior has not changed since our last review.
As usual we enjoyed our meal. We started with the Gougeres appetizer, pieces of bread with Gruyère cheese in the middle, almost like a pastry. It came with so much we didn’t come close to finishing it.
They also brought us out their regular bread basket. We normally don’t mention that but the raisin bread that was included is delicious. The other bread in the basket might have been sourdough.
We also had a Caesar Salad, which was very good. Note that it came with some anchovy on top. If you don’t like that be sure to let them know when you order.
One of the best items we had was the Vichysoisse, a cold soup. It was brilliant. As I ate it I noticed both the creamy texture and hints of various flavors, all going well together. When you order off the regular menu it is topped with some smoked salmon that was very high quality. As we understand it that is not included if you order it off the Dining to Dusk menu.
It’s worth mentioning that the service was excellent. There were multiple staff members coming to our table, refilling water glasses, straightening napkins if someone left the table, clearing plates (and very politely), etc. We were provided fresh silverware for every course. We never had to ask for anything.
We had two entrees. The short ribs is a great dish. The meat is so tender you don’t need a knife. It’s also beautiful to look at:
The filet mignon was wonderful. There was a choice of three sauces and we went with a “spicy” peppercorn. It wasn’t so spicy as to need a warning and it was a great sauce. If there was one weakness that night it was how the steak was cooked. We ordered it medium rare and it was somewhere between medium and medium well. Regardless, it was delicious. I ordered a glass of a French Pinot Noir with the meal and it paired perfectly with the steak.
The filet comes with fries. They’re good but we’d like to see other options for sides with a $42 entree.
We also tried a few desserts. First up was the apple tart with vanilla ice cream. We’ve had this one before and still like it.

Apple Tart with ice cream
Apple Tart with ice cream

Next was the Mousse Cake, and we loved it. The berries it came with were fresh and juicy.
Mousse Cake
Mousse Cake

Last was the Double Chocolate Fudge which came with chocolate “barts” on the side. This was also very good.
Double Chocolate Fudge with chocolate "barts"
Double Chocolate Fudge with chocolate “barts”

Overall La Ferme is still one of our favorite restaurants in West Boca. If you’re going out for a special dinner and you’re ready to spend for it, you really can’t do better anywhere nearby. Their only real competition at this level are Armadillo Cafe on Glades and Butcher Block Grill on Powerline, but their menus are so different that it’s hard to compare them.

Four Seasons Restaurant Opens Today in Lakeside Centre

We just happened to be in Lakeside Centre yesterday and were told that the new Four Seasons restaurant will open today. I had a nice chat with the chef (Ahmed if my spelling is accurate) who used to work at The Breakers in Palm Beach, as well as at a restaurant off Powerline some years ago.
The best plaza entrance is across from the International Jewelery Exchange.
The plaza is on the southwest corner of Glades and Boca Rio:

It’s the same plaza that has the new Casa Tequila Mexican restaurant, Off-Broadway Shoes, a gym, a Honey Baked Ham, and more. It’s right next door to the newly opened Creative Heart Dance Studio.
Ahmed described a “continental” menu with French, Italian and other dishes, and maybe an Egyptian night once a month. If I understood correctly, entrees will be priced in the mid to high teens with a 3-course prix-fixe menu around $25. Lunch will also be available soon with pricing near $10.

Chef Ahmed, standing, with friend sitting
Chef Ahmed, standing, with friend sitting

It’s neither small nor huge inside, with roughly 60 seats.
We look forward to giving it a try sometime in the next few weeks. In the meantime we wish them the best.

Closed – Another New French Restaurant: Fabien's Bistro

Update: Fabien’s has closed. There is a new restaurant in its place, Jasper’s, but we haven’t been there yet.
We discovered a second new French restaurant. The first is La Ferme, which we’ve covered extensively and is located near the northwest corner of West Boca (Yamato near 441). On the opposite corner of the rectangle, near the southeast corner on SW 18th just west of Military Trail, is Fabien’s Bistro. It’s in the plaza with Howard’s Market and Rise Asian Sushi.

You can see it in this warped panorama shot of the plaza – it’s near the left side. Howard’s Market is to the right. We found it easiest to access the plaza by turning into Palm D’Oro Road and then turning into the plaza. Parking was limited but that may be better at dinnertime.
We haven’t had a chance to eat there yet. We were there at lunch time and they’re only open for dinner starting at 5 pm (Tuesday – Sunday, closed Monday during low season). As we were looking at the menu, Fabien came out and invited us to take a look around.
As one might expect with a French restaurant, the a la carte menu is not cheap with entrees starting around $27. But for now they have an early bird special dinner for $22.95 from 5-6 pm that includes soup or salad, an entree (limited to four choices) and dessert. If you’re there after 6 pm and it’s not crowded, mention West Boca News and ask Fabien for the early bird dinner. And keep in mind that restaurant menus change, especially new ones.
We hope to get out to Fabien’s in the next month or so to give it a try, and we’ll do a full review. If you’ve been there and tried it, please post a comment and let our readers know what you thought.

La Ferme Media Dinner: Photos

Laura, Bobby & Alex Shapiro
Laura, Bobby & Alex Shapiro

We were fortunate to be invited to a media dinner for the new La Ferme restaurant in Yamato Village Center. It’s a reopening of the former Bistro Gastronomie in the same plaza as Doris Market. Bistro Gastronomie struggled but the new owners (pictured above) are optimistic they can make the concept work. The Shapiros have extensive experience running restaurants. They’ve learned from their successes and more from the few that didn’t go well.
The new chef, John Belleme (pronounced like Bellamy), put together an excellent meal for all of us. He came out and explained the finer points of the meal in far more depth than this author is capable of understanding, to the delight of the more experienced food writers. Their press release described the cuisine as Meditteranean but we’d call it French.
Bobby Shapiro and Chef John Belleme
Bobby Shapiro and Chef John Belleme

We started with a series of appetizers. First up was the “gougeres”, bread puffs filled with gruyere cheese. The bread was light and airy and the cheese was soft inside – nearly liquid – even after they had cooled off a bit.
Served at the same time was steak tartare, which was my favorite item of the night. The meat blended with dijon, capers and other ingredients for a hint of spice and smooth feel in the mouth.
Oysters are not something I would typically order, but I did like these.
They came out along with “Clams 2 Ways.” One of the ways included bacon, which was excellent.
During the meal Mr. Shapiro introduced Kahl Wilfert, who coordinated the artwork inside the restaurant.
Kahl Wilfert & Bobby Shapiro
Kahl Wilfert & Bobby Shapiro

There is a variety of art, though Kahl mentioned something being a precursor to the pop art movement.
Next came two different salads. One was a beet salad. That’s something I usually like and this was no exception:
There was also a “farm salad.” This was the one item that really didn’t click for me. There was something bitter in it that overpowered the rest of the ingredients, though others at the table did like it.
We were then served two kinds of mussels. The Thai version was my favorite of the two.
I had the chance to try three of the four entrees that were served. A guest of mine showed up late and had the salmon. We both thought it was very good.
I had the scallops with risotto. Of the entrees this was my favorite. My guest particularly liked the risotto.
I also had a chance to try the porchetta, made from pork belly.
The meal closed with two desserts, an apple turnover that was spectacular, and a chocolate torte that would definitely appeal to chocoholics.
We have not seen a menu yet but expect La Ferme to be pricey. The Shapiros tell us it will not be as expensive as Bistro Gastronomie was. We hope to get there again in the next month or so for a regular meal.
Yamato Village Center is on the north side of Yamato halfway between 441 and Lyons at Lakeridge.

The website,, is still under construction.

La Ferme Opens October 4th with Chef Belleme

Chef John Belleme
Chef John Belleme

We previously reported that Bistro Gastronomie will reopen as La Ferme. They now have a firm opening date of Saturday, October 4th.
Chef William Walden has left and we wish him all the best. In his place the new owners have brought in Chef John Belleme, who was most recently at the former Stephane’s on the north side of Glades near Military Trail (the space is currently Madison’s restaurant).

The restaurant features modern Mediterranean cuisine in a fun, upbeat and exciting setting. The menu at La Ferme is beautifully executed by celebrated Executive Chef John Belleme, voted the Best Chef in Palm Beach County three years in a row by the readers of City Link and the New Times magazines. He was also featured in Esquire magazine by John Mariani as a chef to keep your eye on.

Here’s Chef Belleme a few years ago on Honey Garlic Prawns from when he was at Umi:

There will be significant changes to the menu:

The menu will adjust with seasons but items will include: Grilled Point Judith Calamari with Heirloom Tomato, Lemon Caper Crudo; Kale Caesar with Country Croutons, Parmesan and Boquerón; Steak Tartare with Quail Egg and Green Peppercorn Vinaigrette; Forever Braised Short Rib Bourguignon with Lardoons, Mushrooms and a Red Wine Reduction; Poulet de St Tropez Roasted Organic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables, Grapes, Olives, Crushed Potatoes in Lemon Thyme Pan Sauce; and Cedar Plank Organic Black Pearl Salmon with Horseradish Crust, Mustard Oil and Greens.

It’s also our impression that it will be much less expensive. Bistro Gastronomie was hard to get out of for less than $100 per person, though we thought it was well worth it.


Tangine Lamb
Tangine Lamb

We’re looking forward to trying the new approach. La Ferme is located in Yamato Village Center, on the north side of Yamato between 441 and Lyons. It’s the plaza with Doris Market.

La Ferme is open daily for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and will feature happy hour specials, Monday – Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. (bar only). [Make] reservations by phone or through OpenTable. For more info call 561.430.3731.

The restaurant’s website – – does not appear to be ready yet but we expect it will be up and running soon.